The Great White Throne Part 1 of 3
by John Lowe
The Great White Throne
11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
These verses describe the final event of all of human history. God is putting the last period on the last sentence of the last paragraph of the last page. This is the final judgment of all who die lost, never having repented and never having received Christ as their Savior. This is serious, and we need to give our full attention to this matter. It is not easy to preach about this awesome and final judgment. I take absolutely no pleasure whatsoever in even thinking about ANYONE being thrown alive into a lake of fire for all eternity.
Also: God takes no pleasure in it either. God never made hell for people…hell was created for the devil and his angels, and the people who end up in hell will be those who reject God’s way of escape, and never get saved. God doesn’t send a person to hell…sin does…and so we must accept His salvation from sin! If we say no to God’s offer of salvation, then the only alternative is hell. We cannot remain neutral. God is love, and He loves us so much that He took our hell for us, and if we’ll repent of those sins for which He died and receive His payment, the Bible tells us that He will save us. But He is holy and perfect, and if we don’t accept His payment for our sins then we have to pay for them ourselves.
What we are going to look at now is the darkest hour of human history; this is the supreme court of the universe! All the lost will be judged, and after the verdict is read, it is final; there will be no appeals. The sentence is either life or death—a death row and torture chamber wrapped up in one, with no end for all eternity. This is not politically correct, and some simply won’t believe it, but their argument will be with God, not with me. If I’ve ever preached a sermon directly from God’s Word, then this is it. The sermon is about the Seven Aspects of the Great White Throne Judgment: The Courtroom, The Judge, The Accused, The Evidence, The Defense, The Verdict, and The Sentence.
1. The Courtroom
Verse 11 says, “And I saw a great white throne;” stop right there. These 3 words “great white throne” represent 3 things:
The first word is “GREAT” and that speaks of power. The lost standing before this throne will be overcome with an incredible sense of power, awe, and fear. Some will talk flippantly about what they’re gonna tell God when they see Him face to face. OH NO, THEY WON’T! The person who never got saved will not be able to do anything but weep and tremble. Their mind may go back to each time they took His Name in vain, but they won’t be able to use it in vain on this occasion. They may think of jokes they told about hell, but there will be no joking on this day. They may remember the way they used to think about hell, but the reality of what it’s really like will now sink in. As they stand there waiting their turn before the Judge, they might remember they once jokingly said, “It’s Hell for company, and Heaven for climate…I always did prefer company to climate!” But, there’ nothing funny about this courtroom. Hebrews 10:31 contains a warning: “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” And it says in Hebrews 12:29, “For our God is a consuming fire.” How dare we think we could ever stand before God and be anything but speechless?!
Notice how this judgment begins with the disposing of the earth. Verse 11 says that the “earth and heaven fled away.” Everyone will realize that everything they ever lived for on earth is gone forever. Everything they put before God is gone; all their possessions, all their pleasures, popularity, prestige, all their family, their children…gone…disposed of…and they are left with God alone, Who now must dispose of them!
Hear this: in the end, all we have left is our soul! No wonder Jesus said, in Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? And so the word “great” stands for power.
The second word is “WHITE,” and that speaks of purity. This refers to the unapproachable purity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why is this important? Because many on that day will stand before God and want to say, “I’m a good person.” But that will mean nothing compared to His unapproachable purity. The only way you or I can be pure enough to stand before God is to be washed in the blood of Jesus! Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. David made this request in Psalm 51:7, “Purge me … and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” We see the power…it is great, we see the purity…it is white.
“THRONE” is the third word and it speaks of the sovereign God Himself who will be in charge on this day; He will call the shots. I know, today they drag His name through the mud and make fun of us His followers, but on that day it is God who sits on the throne; the powerful, pure, sovereign Creator who allowed them every breath they ever took. The Savior who died in their place; the Spirit that convicted their hearts time after time, urging them to repent and be saved; He has allowed them a free will to choose for years and years, but on that day God sits on the throne as the Mighty Potentate. On that day, He will be recognized for who He really is. That’s what Paul said in1 Timothy 6:15: “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.” And you’ll either put Him on the throne of your heart today, or you’ll stand before His Great White Throne on THAT day.
Notice the last phrase of verse 11: “there was found no place for them”. It literally means, “no place to run to, no place to hide.” In the Garden of Eden, Adam sinned and tried to hide behind a tree. No trees on that day. When Jonah sinned, he tried to take a boat ride away from it all. No transportation away on that day. No fig leaves, just the ugly nakedness of our sin exposed! Nowhere to run and every excuse is stripped away! It’s 1 on 1, the sinner and Savior, at the Great White Throne! That is the Courtroom.